Analysis by education funding expert, Dr Jim McMorrow, highlights the precarious state of schools funding and questions the Federal Government’s claim that it will deliver needs based funding to schools after 2017. The NSW SPC President, Chris Presland, said the report was a timely reminder of the importance of the Gonski Review.
“The needs based funding model underpinning the Gonski Review is about putting educational values back into schools funding by creating an equitable, sustainable and high quality education system. The Federal Government has the opportunity to create and sustain a new architecture for the Australian education system by committing to a needs based funding model.”
As the McMorrow report explains, the politics of instability around funding creates an insecure and potentially volatile situation for schools in which they are expected to make decisions about educational goals, priorities and resource allocation within the context of continuing policy uncertainty.
“Schools deserve long-term policy certainty to enable planning and growth and the Gonski model of school funding is the only comprehensive funding model which delivers long term funding and stability which is sector blind and student focused. This is not a Public School versus Independent School issue. It affects everyone. Having funding certainty will enable our schools to invest in programs and resources which enable every child, in every school, to reach their potential,” Mr Presland said.
The NSW SPC believes a needs based funding model provides a more ethical and rational basis for schools funding, effectively raising standards for all schools while reducing unjustifiable gaps in student achievement.
“Increased funding and resources are already lifting results across a broad range of educational outcomes, and so we have had a taste of what a needs based funding model can deliver over a short period of time. Therefore, the Federal Government must provide the additional funding that will still be needed, beyond 2017, for all schools to meet the Gonski based ‘Schooling Resource Standard’. Abandoning progress towards the level and distribution of funding recommended by the Gonski Report would be to preserve the status quo at the educational expense of students,” Mr Presland explained.
Implementing a fair and equitable education funding model is crucial to ensuring Australia’s long term economic, educational and social prosperity, however Dr Jim McMorrow’s report suggests the potential direction of the Federal Government represents a troubling and uncertain time for the funding of Australian schools. The SPC looks forward to the Government’s response outlining how it will deliver a needs based funding model beyond 2017. This will ensure the current climate of policy uncertainty is replaced with a rational, fair and evidence based funding model enabling all Australian children to reach their full educational potential.
President, NSW Secondary Principals’ Council